Like all bright young engineers, Gaurav Singh too began his career as a software engineer, but soon found that his job was too mechanical. Quite by chance, an article about Bill Drayton set him on the path to social entrepreneurship. An opportunity in the form of a recruitment advertisement for Teach for India presented itself, and his journey began.
While teaching some of the most marginalized children in the country, he saw numerous gaps in the education sector that needed attention. He decided to travel across India and the world learning from the best practitioners in the field before coming back to India to found the 3.2.1 Education Foundation. Over the past five years, he has spent most of his waking hours understanding teaching and learning better, as a teacher, as an observer of master teachers, and now, as a coach.
Here, in his words is his story:
How I discovered my passion for teaching and then realized that just passion is not enough:
My inspiration to join Teach for India (TFI) came from my desire to do something for the country, not from a desire to enter the education field. However, very early on, I fell in love with the “Teach” part of Teach for India. I managed to connect the dots in my past to realize that what I had spent my school and college years really doing, was teaching.
Looking back, I think the two years at TFI helped me develop an emotional connect with my students and passion to work on the education problem in our country. The wide education gaps my students had, got me to explore the curriculum aspects of teaching. To create a safe environment to enable learning, I ventured into understanding aspects of behaviour management and classroom structures. The wish to make my students fall in love with learning and support each other on their journey motivated me to look into human motivation and culture design.
By the end of my fellowship, I think what I left my children with was a belief in their potential, a re-awakened love for learning and an improvement in their academic achievement. This gave me a lot of satisfaction but I also realized that what I hadn’t got in these two years was a more thorough understanding of the art and science of teaching. After the fellowship, I knew I wanted to stay in education, but I wanted to take a more systematic approach to solving this problem. Instead of scrambling to find solutions to the problems that my students and I faced, I wanted to be more proactive. Teach for India had given me the passion and after the fellowship I went on to the next step of my journey, the founding of 3.2.1 and taking ‘a year to learn’.
The author is the Founder of 3.2.1 Education Foundation and the 3.2.1 school. An engineer by training, he has been awarded the Echoing Green and Ashoka fellowships. He can be reached at [email protected].